Altium Designer Documentation

Working with a Designator Object on a PCB in Altium Designer

Created: September 18, 2019 | Updated: September 16, 2021
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A placed Designator object
A placed Designator object


The designator field is a child parameter object of a PCB component (part). It is used to uniquely identify each placed part to distinguish it from all other parts placed in all the PCB documents in the project.


The designator is automatically placed when the parent component part object is placed. It is not a design object that you can directly place.

Graphical Editing

The designator can be edited graphically using what is known as in-place editing. To edit a designator in place, click once to select it, pause for a second, then click a second time to enter edit mode.

When a non-inverted designator object is selected, the following editing handles are available:

A selected Designator
A selected Designator

  • Click the editing handles to resize.
  • Click anywhere on the designator away from any editing handles then drag to reposition it. The designator can be rotated (Spacebar/Shift+Spacebar) or mirrored (X or Y keys to mirror along the X-axis or Y-axis).

Non-Graphical Editing

The following methods of non-graphical editing are available:

Via the Parameter Dialog or Properties Panel

Properties page: Designator Properties

This method of editing uses the associated Parameter dialog and Properties panel to modify the properties of a Designator object. 

The Parameter dialog on the left and the Parameter mode of the Properties panel on the right.

After placement, the Parameter dialog can be accessed by:

  • Double-clicking on the placed Designator.
  • Placing the cursor over the Designator, right-clicking then choosing Properties from the context menu.

After placement, the Parameter mode of the Properties panel can be accessed in one of the following ways:

  • If the Properties panel is already active, by selecting the Designator object.
  • After selecting the Designator object, select the Properties panel from the Panels button in the bottom right section of the design space, or by selecting View » Panels » Properties from the main menu.
If the Double Click Runs Interactive Properties option is disabled (default) on the PCB Editor - General page of the Preferences dialog, when the primitive is double-clicked or you right-click on a selected primitive then choose Properties, the dialog will open. When the Double Click Runs Interactive Properties option is enabled, the Properties panel will open. 
While the options are the same in the dialog and the panel, the order and placement of the options may differ slightly. 

Editing via a List Panel

Panel pages: PCB List, PCBLIB List, PCB Filter

A List panel allows you to display design objects from one or more documents in tabular format, enabling quick inspection and modification of object attributes. Used in conjunction with appropriate filtering - by using the PCB Filter pane l or the Find Similar Objects dialog - it enables the display of just those objects falling under the scope of the active filter – allowing you to target and edit multiple design objects with greater accuracy and efficiency.

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